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Question DetailsAsked on 8/2/2016

1993 did o need a permit to build a room in the garage?

I build a room in the garage in 1993. Contractor that build the house said that we did not need a permit. Is that true?

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1 Answer


Depends on your building code area, local planning andn zoning regs, etc- but in most incorporated (city) areas yes, sometimes yes sometimes no in unincorporated county areas (generally yes with higher population counties or ones containing large cities).

You would have to check with your local building department - generally yes if any utilities were run (plumbing, electric, etc) or it affected the structure of the building (as opposed to just free-standing partition walls). If a bedroom or usable as such almost certainly required one too, for fire code compliance. And actually, in most areas, if it left room and a garage door so a car could still go in there, or the garage has furnace or water heater or boiler in it, generally fire code issues requiring a permit in that case too.

Also - your Planning and Zoning department might have a say too - especially if a bedroom or in-law apartment or such, as that is affected by local zoning (number of living units) and also affects things like parking area required and well/septic sizing for added bedrooms or living space square footage. Also, in many areas you have to have a certain number car garage in certain areas or for a certain number of bedrooms, so if you ate into that parking space that could mean a permit would require a variance - or maybe not be allowed at all and you would have to tear it out or modify it so it could not be considered a bedroom, for instance, if that caused the problem.

Course, since done in 1993 - your recourse against builder (if this was not a DIY job) would be pretty well out of the statute of limitations by this time - so if you needed permits you would have to get an after-the-fact permit and inspections, which sometimes involves some tearing into walls and such to inspect insulation and utility runs. But better now than when you go to sell the house and find out it is unsaleable because of the lack of permits.

Likely to also affect your property taxes retroactively - many times the property tax dsepartment gets its remodel and upgrade info from the building permits, so they could ding you on taxes including penalties and interest.

If you run into issues or want professional help getting it approved and making sure not to "step into it" by talking to the Building/P&Z departments yourself, an Architect speciailzing in remodels and permit waivers would be your best bet to take the lead on this for you.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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